Hansel and Gretel were two little children. They were left by their father in the woods because of their stepmother’s evil plan. In the wood, Hansel and Gretel found a house made out of candies. An old woman opened the door for them and asked them to come in. Later they found out that the old woman was a wicked witch, who then put Hansel into jail and forced Gretel to be a slave. But the witch didn’t know how smart the siblings were: they tricked the witch, burnt her, brought all her treasures to home, and then lived happily ever after. Oops, although both share the same leading roles, unfortunately “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is far less exhilarating than the aforementioned fanciful fairy tale and, of course, not addressed to under-aged viewers.
“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” still has a little bit similar plot, except that after burning the witch, they are growing up and becoming witch hunters. Hansel (played by Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (played by Gemma Arterton) are so well-known for their achievement in tracking and killing witches all over the world. After helping the wrongly-accused Mina (played by Pihla Viitala), they were hired by a local mayor to find the witch who has kidnapped some kids in that place. But, after they know that it’s Muriel the witch (played by Famke Janssen) who did it, a long hidden secret of their past is revealed as Muriel has a gathering with many black witches on the Blood Moon.
Spinned-off from the popular fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is a movie that will destruct our childhood memories because, in fact, it is bloody, gore, somewhat disgusting, and filled with mature content. Just don’t bring your kids or younger siblings to watch it. And, although I don’t expect much for this kind of movie, I can say that this is an interesting flick. Just for being an easy entertainment, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” did it well. It has an interesting story, some giggles all over the place, breath-taking action scenes, and cool special effect. It’s just enough to be a movie you can spend on the weekend with your couples or friends. For me, maybe it’s an unnecessary rip-off of fairy tale because, regardless of the similar topic and the two legendary leading roles, it could just be made out from a fresh idea. Beside it will be more sensational, there’s no point of resurrecting this old children story into a brand-new adaptation. For example, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is not supported with a good description of its setting: it just laid itself back to the fairy tale. I don’t even get the idea of where the two siblings live (we just know that it’s some place around this world where witches and magic are still powerful) or the explanation about all the magical stuffs, and finally what we can enjoy is what the story serve, without any further questions. Still, this action-fantasy movie is stuck on the same old thing: the unnecessary flavor of drama, and, well, there are many cliches and plot holes all around. But, finally, putting them aside will give you a more exciting experience in (and the only option you can take for) enjoying this movie. There is a good development of the narrative aspect of this movie and some not-mainstream surprises in the ending may bring you a smile.
We can clearly see that the chemistry that Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton built is a chemistry of a brother and sister, not a man and his lover. I don’t know why, but I think Renner is a little bit too old for portraying Hansel. Haha. I mean, being paired with Gemma Arterton, they seem having a significant gap of age that makes Hansel looks much older than his younger sister. Arterton was, phew, hot in her leather outfit and she looks very bad-ass here. But there is something awkward with her character: Gretel looks somewhat weaker as Muriel executes her evil plan. Again, there is no clear explanation of why it seems so hard for Hansel and Gretel, despite of their reputation, to kill Muriel. There is nothing that makes Muriel particularly different from any other previous witches they killed, and it makes me see Muriel as an unreasonably tough enemy. Famke Janssen didn’t do much because she uses an extreme makeup (or face-painting?) for most of the duration and she wasn’t even terrifying, while Thomas Mann (playing Benjamin) is a good character addition to bring laugh (and silliness) that could cheer up the atmosphere.
With only an 88-minute duration, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” feels a little bit rushy and shallow. Don’t expect too much: just sit back and enjoy yourself being fooled. Finally, if you wanna see a simple entertainment on this weekend, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” could be a good choice of movie you can try Watching it in 2D is actually enough, but there are parts in the movie which is best served in 3D—maybe you like to see blood and flesh pop out of the big screen? :)
▲ A good, easy entertainment
▼ An unnecessary rip-off of popular tale, no clear description of setting, ambiguous characterization
HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS | COUNTRY USA YEAR 2013 RATING Rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language RUNTIME 88 min GENRE Action, Fantasy, Horror CAST Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Thomas Mann WRITER Tommy Wirkola, Dante Harper DIRECTOR Tommy Wirkola IMDB RATING 6.4/10 METACRITIC 21/100 (Generally Unfavorable) ROTTEN TOMATOES 18% MORE INFO